The passenger experience has become a major part of modern transportation as the old simple objective of getting people from point A to point B has become just a small part of travelling.
Look around any train, bus or Tube service nowadays and you will likely see 95% of people glued to a smartphone or tablet.
This rise of mobile technology and 24/7 connectivity means passengers have increased expectations around accessing the same kind of entertainment – like TV shows, films and books – on the go just like they would in their own homes.
Given the headlines often surrounding public transport, with regular stories of increasing prices and services struggling to deal with capacity, improving the customer experience with the use of technology has become ever more important.
Up to now, most of the investment in improving digital services has been around wifi connectivity, with billions of pounds being spent on offering better and more reliable availability – a particular problem on rural and long-distance routes.
But, there is an opportunity for transportation providers who understand the potential of on-board services beyond offering better wifi, to not only improve the services they offer, but also to generate more revenue from advertising and sponsorship.
Advertising on public transport has always been a popular thing, with adverts adorning the sides of buses for years.
In 2015, Not On The High Street reached a sponsorship deal with Transport for London to open two, one-week pop-up spaces on the London Underground to put literature and information directly in front of passengers.
The three-year deal generated £100,000 for the transport network and gave NOTHS access to an engaged customer base who could read the information presented to them while they travelled.
This shows how popular and successful sponsored content or advertising can be on public transport, and a better digital on-board service only increases the sponsorship opportunities further.
Modern digital services allow passengers to watch the latest films and TV box sets and a variety of other targeted entertainment channels on the go – through a more reliable network than that offered on public wifi – and offers the chance for brands to put their own content within these services, through pre-roll videos, sponsored ads on pages and even their own dedicated channels.
The potential, for instance, for a brand to show a targeted 30 second advert before or during a film being watch by millions of people travelling long distances on a daily basis, is something too good to pass up and will become a standard feature of the higher quality digital on-board entertainment services.
To give an example of the audience available through better digital on-board services, there were 252 million passenger journeys on light rail alone last year, according to the gov.uk website.
Just looking to the likes of YouTube and other social media platforms, which are successfully offering advertising and sponsorship deals for brands, it is not hard to see how the biggest brands stand to benefit from sponsoring digital on-board services that offer the same level of entertainment people get at home.
Improving the passenger experience is vital for transport providers today, and while these kinds of digital services may seem like an expense, we have already seen how they can in fact be creators of huge monetary value if they are developed correctly.
Having this extra money coming in will only mean that providers can further improve and increase their range of on-board services, bettering their own reputations as a quality provider going into the future.
As digital on-board services continue to improve and become more popular, it will become even harder for brands to resist sponsoring this type of content and getting in front of such a large audience.
Digital on-board services are no longer a business cost but an opportunity to improve customer service and increase revenue. Discover how to deliver and open up new revenue streams by clicking the link below to download our eBook: